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Buy my next bottle!

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OK folks, I've got plenty of liquor I want but only the $ for 1 bottle. I'm looking at sub-$30 options and I'm asking you to drink through me vicariously, since I want something I've never tried before. I like whiskey a whole lot but I'm willing to try anything aged in oak.

The specials right now that appeal to me:
Black Bottle Scotch: $22
Muchote repo tequila: $27
Bowmore Legend: $22
Eagle Rare 10: $25

Also thinking about picking up:
Wild Turkey Rye: $19
Clontarf Irish: $24
Four Roses bourbon: $19
Corner Creek bourbon: $20
Elmer T Lee bourbon: $28

What jumps out as an awesome buy? Am I missing anything great in the price range? I'd be willing to try a brandy/cognac if someone has a solid recommendation. I am kinda leaning a certain way but I'll keep that to myself for now.

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  1. For enjoying neat, Bowmore Legend is a very good value and that's an incredible price compared to around here (as are all the prices that I recognize!). I love Clontart too -- the regular black label even more than the stuff that's a few bucks more. Since I'm partial to peat, I'd pick the Bowmore myself.

    However, if you're looking to mix, the WT Rye is excellent, and also a good value. I don't love Rye neat enough to pick it over a favorite Scotch or Irish Whiskey. In most cocktails, however, I prefer Rye's spice and dryer character to Bourbon's. Usually.

    1 Reply
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      I would go in the reposado tequila direction. Great deal at that price point. I'm not familiar with the Muchote. Cazadores has a nice repo in the mid-20$ range.

    2. I'd probably be drinking it straight, rocks, or water as I like the taste and I'm lazy (read manly ;). I have heard that the younger Bowmores are rough and unrefined otherwise I'd be all over it, you haven't found that the case with the Legend? I like peat but prefer Laga, not Ardbeg.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JayMad

        I did not find the Bowmore Legend rough or unrefined. I prefer Lagavulin, but it's at least twice the price. Never had Ardbeg, but I draw the line at Laphroig 10 (just so you can see my taste in peat).

        Unless you have other affordable Islays in your cabinet now, I think the Bowmore is a great choice. It and Clontarf (black label) are what I turn to when I want something neat that not too dear.

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Do you live near a Trader Joe's? Another option for a taste of Islay is the Finlaggan "Islay Single Malt" that TJ's sells for about $18.

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            I'm in Boston. I believe the TJ's in Cambridge on Memorial Drive has beer and wine, but I don't think any of them have spirits. Massachusetts ... grrrrr. A state where I'm not allowed to mail order from out-of-state, even if what I want isn't distributed in the state.

            I've heard good things about many of the TJ's private label options.

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              I agree the Bowmore is an insane bargain. I can occasionally find it 2 for $25 which makes is 1/3 the price of Lagavullin (which I love). I call it poor man's Lagavullin.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                was "2 for $25" a typo? I hope so because if you can actually get Lagavulin for $37 I am going to be tempted to move where you are.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Whoops, sorry, 2 for $45.

          2. I'd consider Buffalo Trace, Evan Williams Single Barrel, and Rittenhouse Rye (80 or 100 proof, latter preferred).

            5 Replies
            1. re: ted

              When was the last time you bought Rittenhouse 100? All our local shops have been out for months and say they can't get it from the suppliers. I'm told Rittenhouse is essentially sold out of the stuff. Latest is "maybe January." But I've been hearing "real soon now" for at least 6 months.

              1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                I am a lucky, lucky dude. It's been gone here for a while, too. Some yahoo from TN bought the last couple cases at my local (ATL) liquor store a while back.

                We went out for dinner last Fri to a place that's BYOB. Stopped by a liquor store that I'd never been in before to grab a sixer (SN Torpedo- hoppy to go with spicy Chinese food). Figured, what the heck, I'll check for rye. Got the last bottle of 100 proof Rittenhouse and a bottle of 80 proof (they still had several more of these).

                Now I just have to make it last.

                1. re: ted

                  I just grabbed the last bottle of rittenhoouse from my local place a few weeks ago.

                  1. re: pthaloearth

                    I was lucky enough to grab a bottle of Sazerac a while back here in NC where it is not normally stocked, have not seen it since.

                2. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                  I had the same problem. Spent nearly a year searching liquor stores in the Northeast (Boston area primarily) and could not find the Rittenhouse 100 anywhere. I finally found a nice store in Westborough, MA called Julio's that seemingly had been stocking it all along. If you're in the Boston area it's worth the 30 minute drive west.

              2. This is a great list and all of these are very different, so it's hard to choose among them. I would try them all eventually (though I can't speak to the tequila or Clontarf). Of those I have tried, I tend to find Black Bottle, Wild Turkey Rye, Eagle Rare and Elmer T Lee the most satisfying.

                I would second Ted's recommendation for Buffalo Trace, and the other thing I would add in the price range is George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey.

                http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                1 Reply
                1. re: sku

                  I just got Buffalo Trace for $23 and change and I am really enjoying it with a few drops of water or as part of a manhatten. I like the eagle rare, but was not crazy about the corner creek (but don't forget, everyones tastes are different!) I can't seem to find the Wild Turkey rye. I feel both the Buffalo and the Eagle are good buys (at least here on Long Island) but my everyday Bourbon and a great value is Wild Turkey 101

                2. There's a good chunk of your list I haven't tried and can't comment on, but I can cross off a few:

                  Eagle Rare 10, in my opinion, was boring and not worth the money.
                  Four Roses, in my opinion, is only worth buying in the "small batch" or "single barrel" designations. I'm guessing your $19 option is neither of these, but you could do the "small batch" for under $30.

                  If you can let go of the oak thing and want a good sipping bottle for under $30, I wonder if you would like Wathen's bourbon. I've really enjoyed this one, about $25, much better than Eagle Rare or Four Roses.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: andytee

                    Wathen's looks interesting, I think I saw it at the store. But as a bourbon, isn't it oaked? Anyway I got the Bowmore Legend and quite liked it over ice in the afternoon. Neat in a glencairn I notice earthy peat with smoke and sweet overtones. Body is malt then honey then peat smoke, with a drying finish like rye. A little hot neat, flavors a bit thin but for the age and price, a great buy! More exciting than blendeds in the price range for sure.

                    1. re: JayMad

                      yes - aged in oak, but not "oaky" to my taste - i wasn't sure from your post if you were looking for a specific flavor profile. very good bourbon for the price - give it a try if you haven't.